UFC Fight Night 45 Fight Breakdown: Edson Barboza (-260) vs. Evan Dunham (+220)

Evan Dunham The co-main event at UFC Fight Night 45 is a three-round lightweight bout between Edson “Junior” Barboza and Evan Dunham. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Barboza as a -260 favorite (bet $260 to win $100) while Dunham is a +220 underdog (bet $100 to win $220). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Barboza at -280 and Dunham at +220, and there has been back-and-forth action as the lines have tightened, but with a slight lean towards Barboza. I like Barboza in this fight and think he picks up the win. Here’s why. Barboza (13-2) is one of the top strikers in the UFC lightweight division. The 28-year-old Brazilian is 7-2 overall in the UFC with wins over Danny Castillo, Rafaello Oliveira, Lucas Martins, Terry Etim, Ross Pearson, Anthony Njokuani and Mike Lullo and his only two losses came to Donald Cerrone and Jamie Varner. Known for his blistering leg kicks, Barboza is the only fighter in UFC history to finish two fights via TKO (leg kicks). Although with his brutal kicks he also has solid boxing. He also has excellent defence and he has cardio that allows him to go three strong rounds. He has looked fantastic in the UFC and the only thing holding him bad is his striking defence as he’s been rocked in numerous fights. Offensively he is supremely gifted but until he gets his striking defence in order he’ll always be at risk of getting finished. But if he keeps his hands up and his chin tucked, he’s an extremely dangerous fighter and that’s why he enters the bout against Dunham as the favorite. Dunham (14-5) is one of the toughest outs in the UFC lightweight division. The 32-year-old American is 7-5 overall in the UFC with wins over Gleison Tibau, Nik Lentz, Tyson Griffin and Efrain Escudero, amongst others, and he should have a win over UFC legend Sean Sherk on his resume if not for the judges blowing it in that one. Dunham is a well-rounded fighter with a good stand-up attack and a wicked ground game. He doesn’t have much power, but he does have solid technique with his strikes. He also has decent wrestling and he has a great gas tank. He does have a solid chin, but his ability to cut/bleed hurts him as it makes his opponent’s strikes look stronger than they are. It’s this ability to take punishment that has always been Dunham’s calling card, but in recent fights it has dwindled and in his last fight against Cerrone he was hurt very badly with strikes and then submitted. He is the underdog against Barboza because he is the inferior striker, but he certainly is a live dog due to his well-rounded ability, and it will be interesting to see how this fight goes down. I believe this should be a very exciting fight between two men who love to strike for the crowd’s delight. Barboza is the more technical striker of the two, and Dunham’s ability to take punishment is not what it once was, so as long as Dunham doesn’t clip Barboza and knock him out I believe Barboza should be able to pick apart Dunham on the feet, make him bleed, and win a decision on the judges’ scorecards — if not score a knockout himself. At -260 I think the line on Barboza is too high and don’t think a play is warranted at this price. I do lean towards the OVER 1.5 rounds total at -205 for a play, though, as I think this fight goes over the 2:30 mark of round two. I also think the total should have been set at 2.5 rounds so I see value in the current total since it’s been set at only 1.5 rounds.

Written by Adam Martin.

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